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Ga. Republicans tour to raise funds
As far as Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, can tell, Glynn County residents want more jobs, better transportation and tourism-friendly government.

Ralston and other state Republican leaders stopped in Brunswick Tuesday for an information gathering luncheon and fundraiser at the Brunswick County Club. They were joined by Rep. Alex Atwood, R-St. Simons Island.

"The people we spoke with are interested in economic development and jobs. There's a lot of interest in transportation and a lot of interest in government helping to encourage tourism," Ralston said after the luncheon.

Ralston, House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, R-Milton, and House Majority Leader Larry O'Neal, R-Bonaire, and others are traveling around the state by plane as a part of an annual trip to touch base with Republican strongholds.

"We're just going around the state talking to Georgians and feeling out what they want us to do," Ralston said. "I think it's very important that we, as House leadership, get out and talk to Georgians. The state is a lot bigger than Atlanta."

O'Neal said some politicians tend to forget about smaller communities.

"There are unfortunately a lot of people who seem to think the state line stops at I-285 in Atlanta," O'Neal said.

In Southeast Georgia, the proposed deepening of the Savannah Harbor is on the Republican agenda, Ralston said.

"We are very passionate about getting the funding to see that completed," Ralston said. "I think that would be a huge benefit for Southeast Georgia and the whole state -- and really the whole Southeast United States."

Boosting higher education also is a top priority, Rep. Jones said.

The group is also discussing the Transportation Investment Act, the 1 percent regional sales tax for transportation projects known as T-SPLOST, and raising money and advocating for Republican candidates across the state.

Of the 180 members of the Georgia House, 116 are Republicans. Ralston, Jones and O'Neal want to protect that majority.

"Our first goal is to keep our members on the team now, but we have some members who face opposition," Ralston said. "We're optimistic we are going to gain a few members in November."

Some 50 people attended the $250 a person luncheon.

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